From a distance I have been getting updates on the Nationals rowing championships. It seems that many athletes are performing really well. I always go to the difference between times and Worlds Best times. The difference is always interesting and although conditions change I have always felt races with in 30-45min are pretty good to compare. Yes condition do change and strengthening winds certainly have an impact. When you’re at the regatta you get a feel for this. People speculate about the conditions and I do like looking through results to see the patterns. This week has seen some fast racing with some times being within 12 sec of WB times. Depending on conditions this are very good domestic results. Prognostic times are used by most countries to benchmark athletes and crews which are faster then WB’s by varying amounts. I have always like WB’s though simply because they are the times which have been rowed in ideal conditions and usually by the best crew’s and athletes obviously. Many of which I think are true benchmarks when they have stood for many years. Can’t argue with lasting results set in competition. Setting standards to stay ahead of the competition is critical so in doing so I reflected on the times this week and had a slight sense of concern. Depending on conditions times international are always improving over time. From a distance I can only imagine people around the regatta commenting on the quality of competition and standards. From a distance I wonder how close or far these result land our Australian athletes on the World stage. Time will tell but one advantage this year is the proximity of the World Champs being new Zealand. This will assist our athletes and certainly the Kiwi’s. So I would think this weeks results positive but not great. The standards have to be understood and set by athletes and coaches alike in their planning and prep, and the World performances will relate to this and the possible advantage at play with the ease of traveling to NZ and how it should assist performances. Read into this what you will as I just found myself considering the factors of this weeks performances and the pathway going forward, plus the perspectives on where things are at and how our athletes will compare. Even from a distance I have found this great food for thought. Last consideration is that these results 10 years ago would have been exciting and even more so back another 5 years before that domestically. Is this still the case NOW. Many countries will be going through similar processes leading up to the Worlds and to me it stands out when people are prepared to push the boundaries and challenge assumptions about performance and the standards required to be optimal and competitive.